Couple turns family passion for sport into new profession
For Heather and Greg Moore, soccer is more than a sport. It’s a way of life.
When their oldest child, now 13, began playing soccer almost a decade ago, the sport became a family focus.
“It consumed us,” said Heather Moore. “We fell in love with it. All of our social life and friends are surrounded with soccer.”
In January, they expanded that passion into a profession, opening It’s A Soccer Life in 25,000 square feet of the former Itron building in the Spokane Business and Industrial Park.
Moore said her husband formerly managed Sta-Fit and 24 Hour Fitness about 20 years ago and, though he’d left the fitness industry, the couple had thought for years about opening their own facility. Then, as their children played soccer, the couple decided the community needed soccer facilities more than another exercise club.
“From a consumer angle, I saw the need,” Moore said, noting their market research showed that soccer is growing significantly in the area.
“Our main competitor was turning away 90 teams. People weren’t able to get in and play soccer,” she said. “Without touching their market share, we could fill a need for teams.”
Since they opened, Moore said they’ve been mostly full, with some scattered rental slots still open.
They looked for a long time before finding the right site, Moore said.
“We started looking years ago but couldn’t find anything that fit,” she said. They viewed the open warehouse space in the former Itron building last March, a week after Servatron moved out. Then it took nine months to complete the rezoning process and receive a conditional use permit in an area that is primarily industrial.
After receiving the permit in December, they opened Jan. 2 after a month of remodeling. Moore said they spent about $500,000 to install a turf field, futsal field, concession stand, party room and pro shop, as well as update the bathrooms into locker rooms and refurbish the lobby.
“We did all this in a month,” she said, gesturing at the brightly lit turf soccer field surrounded by tempered glass. For fans, the field is encircled with bistro tables, many of them also overlook the futsal field.
Unlike Plexiglas, Moore said tempered glass doesn’t get cloudy with marks, so fans have full visibility of the game. “You could take a 400 pound guy and ram him into it and it wouldn’t break,” she added.
It’s A Soccer Life offers tournaments, camps and six-week youth and adult league sessions.
The business also hosts Kick Start soccer for 3- to 6-year-olds, provides classes so parents become knowledgeable fans, and opens the facility weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for adults to drop in and play for $5 in the nooner program.
Additionally, the business rents field space to a variety of area soccer clubs for team practices and has party packages that include field and party room rental.
This summer, Moore said they plan to add an outside beach soccer league after converting a former beach volleyball court outside the building’s entrance.
“My husband is from San Diego,” she said. “It’s three on three, barefoot, in the sand. We’ll try that after the Fourth of July.”
The indoor leagues, which cater to womens, mens and co-ed teams, will also continue as the weather warms.
“People equate indoor with weather but it’s year-round,” said Moore. “Indoor is a different game than outdoor.”